The 2022 NFL Draft is right around the corner and there are several former Huskies that will be available to sign with an NFL team, or even better hear their name called on Draft Day. To kick off our NIU Draft coverage, I figured there was no better place to start then standout linebacker Lance Deveaux Jr. During his career in DeKalb, Lance was a part of two MAC-Championships, spent time as a captain, received two degrees, and finished his career with 179 total tackles, 16 TFLs, and 3.5 sacks.
The first thing you will notice when watching Lance on tape is that he plays downhill, can cover sideline to sideline and is a skilled tackler, especially in the open field. Very rarely does a ball carrier find their way out of Deveaux’s grip. In addition, the physical abilities he has on the field are matched by his ability to read what the offense is giving him. As a result, he is always in the right place at the right time to make the play.
Lance was the leading tackler in multiple games for the Huskies during his career. The big games, whether it be against a power five opponent, bowl game, or a huge in conference game, Lance was always counted on to come up big and make plays for the defense.
As I mentioned previously, Lance was a captain on last year’s team, and was seen daily leading by example as well as vocally as he loves to do. Lance expressed at his pro day that he would be willing to play in the secondary at the next level if necessary. He has experience playing in the secondary during his high school career. One thing that may be considered a potential weakness for Lance is his size at the linebacker position. He may only be 6-foot, 225 pounds, but as we’ve seen over the last few years there has been more hybrid linebackers with similar size making plenty of plays at the next level.
Deveaux Jr. always played above his size in college. He excelled at NIU in defending the run, on special teams, and as I stated previously, was always found around the football. The linebacker had an interesting time at NIU from a positional standpoint. The linebacker position has been a revolving door during his time at NIU with transfers, graduations, injuries, and lineup changes.
One thing that was always consistent was his performance on the field, and you could even make the point that young linebackers like Nick Rattin and Daveren Rayner saw their game improve when Deveaux was back in the lineup for his final season at NIU. He does have a few injuries in his past that he has fully recovered from as he played in every game last season. I don’t see the injury history deterring any team from taking a shot on Lance. At his pro day, he appeared to be in the best shape of his life, something that NFL GM’s will definitely note.
The Pro Day
During the 2022 NIU Pro Day, Deveaux was able to workout in front of 11 NFL teams, and has since worked out for the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. He projects to be a third day guy/priority UDFA. Deveaux has a spot in the NFL and here’s why: he has always shown the ability to adapt to what is around him on the field, his instincts on the field are unmatched.
He has played special teams during his career and young players in the NFL can find their way onto an NFL roster by being a standout on special teams. He is a sound tackler that can often be found in the backfield creating havoc. Despite his 4.75 40-time, he shows the ability to get sideline-to-sideline to make plays all over the field. An underrated quality that Deveaux has is that he rarely ever gives up on a play. You’ll see on his tape a play where he catches a Ball State running back from behind to prevent a Ball State touchdown in a tight game.
He is a natural born leader who was simply born to play linebacker. I am interested to see what is next for Lance Deveaux Jr. as he was a joy to watch at NIU. An NFL scout or GM who did their homework will be getting a steal in Deveaux wherever his opportunity comes.
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